Oral History Interview with Sarah Schwimmer

Sarah Schwimmer was born in Irsava, Czechoslovakia on August 19, 1926, one of 15 children in an observant Jewish family. Her father was a blacksmith in a largely Jewish community and supported his family until antisemitic Hungarians confiscated his business in 1939 and those of other family members. Sarah and an older sister went to Budapest where she worked as a seamstress. Her sister, a beautician, tried unsuccessfully to obtain a passport from Wallenberg, but remained underground throughout the war at the Swedish Embassy. Sarah joined Dror, the Zionists underground movement. In September 1944 as the Germans were forcing all Jews into the Budapest Ghetto, Sarah and her sister hid for a short time, but eventually ended up in the ghetto and then got separated. She describes atrocities committed by the Germans soldiers as she and others were forced to dig trenches for Germans and graves for Jews.

In September 1944, Sarah was taken with other women on a death march to Hegyeshalom on the German border. Only one third survived for 10 days without food, water or shelter, to be transported by train to Buchenwald, Ravensbrück, Burgau and Türkheim. She vividly describes hunger, loss of spirit and forced labor. Yet she had the will to survive. She was liberated by a regiment of black American soldiers on April 28, 1945. She walked with other women through Russian, French and English zones to reach Marseille for passage to Israel.

Date: 04/22/1985
Interviewer: Gladys Bernstein
Interviewee: Sarah Schwimmer
Language: English
Subject: Death march survivors.
Death marches.
Holocaust survivors--Israel.
Holocaust survivors--Marriage.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives.
Jews, Czech--Hungary.
Jews--Czech Republic--Jihlava.
Women dressmakers.
World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--Liberation.
World War, 1939-1945--Underground movements--Hungary.
Women--Personal narratives.
Location: Irshava, Ukraine
Budapest, Hungary
Ravensbrück concentration camp
Burgau concentration camp
Kaufering VI concentration camp
Graz, Austria
Marseille, France
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